Horror fans will relish September.
There is the return of M. Night Shyamalan, this time as producer after directing last month’s The Last Airbender, with the urban horror story, Devil. There’s also the homegrown scary movie, Haunted Changi, set at spooky Old Changi Hospital.
Apart from horror, September is also a time for ‘love’ if not romance per se; there are four films with the L-word in their title, including the local drama Love Cuts, which examines a relationship under the strain of adversity.
Family-friendly films also abound, including the talking-animals sequel Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, and the animated picture Alpha & Omega, but there is also silliness in good measure, starting with Vampires Suck, continuing with The Infidel, and finishing withThe Other Guys.
Week of 2 September
The Stars: Drew Barrymore, Justin Long, Christina Applegate, Ron Livingston, Leighton Meester
The Story: Boy meets girl (Long and Barrymore) and fall head over heels in love. The problem: boy lives in New York, girl’s in San Francisco. Dealing with a long-distance relationship, and deciding if it’s worth making big sacrifices for, is the big issue here.
The Buzz: OMG! Art imitates life! What are the odds that the on-screen couple are also an off-screen couple? Well, in all seriousness, it is not unusual for rumours of reel-life-turned-real-life romance to surface just as a film is slated for release (the Stewart-Pattinson chitter-chatter surely hasn’t hurt the Twilight franchise).
Skeptics, there will be, but talk is that Long and Barrymore, an on-off couple in recent years, are on again – ‘Just-in’ time for a great marketing angle for this rom-com.
inSing.com says: Barrymore has long been one of Hollywood’s more appealing actresses, with the youthful-looking Long playing more grown-up of late. Both are very likeable, as is the underrated Applegate, which augurs well for this comedy.
Also opening:Haunted Changi, about a documentary crew poking around at spooky Old Changi Hospital – dubbed Singapore’s Paranormal Activity; Vampires Suck, a spoof movie that largely parodies the Twilight films; Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore, a family-film sequel; and Villon’s Wife, an award-winning Japanese post-war piece with screen idol Tadanobu Asano.
Week of 9 September
The Stars: Milla Jovovich, Ali Larter, Wentworth Miller, Spencer Locke
The Story: Carrying on from Resident Evil: Extinction, Alice (Jovovich), the survivor of a man-made viral apocalypse, is on a mission to rally all other survivors and take down those responsible for this nightmare scenario: the sinister Umbrella Corporation.
The Buzz: In case you’ve lost count, this is the fourth instalment of the film series based on the popular ‘survival horror’ videogame franchise of the same name. The films have so far been critic-proof; a good thing for the investors, as the critics haven’t been kind.
Former Heroes star Larter and former Prison Break star Miller presumably bring their respective followings to the table. This also marks the second time Jovovich is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson – the first time with him as her husband.
inSing.com says: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Expect more of the same: zombie human/monster scares, bloody shoot-’em-up violence and Jovovich dodging bullets and kicking baddie bums. It’ll be just like watching a video game.
Also opening:Love Cuts, a local breast-cancer drama with Hong Kong actor Kenny Ho, Caldecott queen Zoe Tay and Malaysian model Christy Yow; and Babies, a cute documentary that follows the early life of four infants in different parts of the world.
Week of 16 September
The Stars: Chris Messina, Bojana Novakovic, Matt Craven, Caroline Dhavernas
The Story: Five strangers get trapped when their elevator suddenly breaks down. A series of strange, increasingly violent events strike fear, as the five come to believe that the Devil is responsible for their predicament – and may even be one of them.
The Buzz: As the trailer states, this film came ‘from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan’, who conceived the original story. Part of a three-movie deal where he doesn’t direct, the buzz here is the film’s brought-forward release (from February 2011) and M. Night’s own parody of its trailer, set on an escalator instead of a lift, entitled Escalation.
For your information, the directors of this film, the Dowdle brothers, also made Quarantine, the American remake of the Spanish horror flick REC.
inSing.com says: The M. Night brand name isn’t what it used to be. Besides expecting twist endings, viewers are now wary of mediocrity, following his string of critical flops culminating in The Last Airbender. One hopes, for fans’ sake, that this bucks the trend.
Also opening:The Girl Who Played with Fire, the second of an adapted trilogy that began with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; the animated film Alpha & Omega; Japanese films My Darling is a Foreignerand The Shock Labyrinth; the acclaimed Italian film I Am Love, starring Tilda Swinton; and the Aussie rom-com I Love You Too, with Chuck star Yvonne Strahovski.
Week of 23 September
The Stars: Michael Douglas, Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan, Josh Brolin, Frank Langella
The Story: Gordon Gekko (Douglas), who had announced that “Greed, for lack of a better word, is good”, is back. Released from prison following the events of Wall Street (1987), he is the man who cries wolf as the Street ignores his warnings of an impending meltdown. He also attempts to reconcile with his estranged daughter (Mulligan) and agrees to help her fiancé (LaBeouf) in a revenge plot.
The Buzz: Nothing like another romance to spice things up. Just as Barrymore-Long and Jovovich-Anderson are couples who have helped raise the profile for films on this September list, the LaBeouf-Mulligan relationship has drawn much attention ever since shooting began.
On a more sombre note, Douglas was recently diagnosed with throat cancer, albeit with an optimistic prognosis. Brolin and Langella, both recent Oscar contenders, round out the dream cast.
inSing.com says: Expectations are rightly sky high for this film. A mix of grizzled veteran talents and promising up-and-comers, under the direction of the mercurial Oliver Stone, makes this one of the most anticipated sequels ever.
Also opening:Nowhere Boy, a biopic with Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson as a young John Lennon; Legend of the Fist, with action star Donnie Yen playing Chen Zhen, a fictional disciple of Chinese folk hero Huo Yuanjia; the Mexican drama Parque Via; and Takeshi Kitano’s Outrage, the director’s return to the yakuza crime-drama genre.
Week of 30 September
The Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes, Michael Keaton, Steve Coogan
The Story: You know the cops who solve all the big cases and get all the women? This comedy is not about them, personified here by Jackson and Johnson. Instead, it is about a pair of wannabe hotshots, played by Ferrell and Wahlberg.
The Buzz: The film focuses on on-screen cop pairings for comedy. Jackson and Johnson play brash, obnoxious and successful partners who are the 'jocks' who enjoy picking on their 'geeks', aka the Ferrell-Wahlberg duo.
But the most important pairing here could be the reunion of writer-director Adam McKay and Ferrell. This is the fourth time they have collaborated, following the hilarious hits Anchorman (2004), Talladega Nights (2006) and Step Brothers (2008).
inSing.com says: The early notices for this film have been good, with some critics deeming it superior to Kevin Smith’s cop-buddy-movie send-up, Cop Out. All I know is, in McKay and Ferrell I trust – this should be great, albeit crude, fun.
Also opening:The Switch, a comedy involving bodily fluids starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman; Tsui Hark’s Detective Dee, about a Tang Dynasty detective played by Andy Lau; I Love You Phillip Morris, with Jim Carrey as a recalcitrant jail-breaker; and Charlie St. Cloud, a Zac Efron romantic drama based on an acclaimed novel.
During the month, the World Cinema Series presents the classic 1969 Egyptian film The Night of Counting the Years (September 14, 730pm) at the National Museum of Singapore, while the Singapore Film Society presents the fashion-industry exposé Picture Me (18 September, 1pm) at The Picturehouse as part of its SFS Talkies series. (The screening is members-only; membership available at the door.
At the end of September comes the start of the annual French Film Festival (September 30 to October 10), featuring – in its 26th edition – fine films by directors including Luc Besson, Olivier Assayas, Jacques Perrin and Jean-Pierre Melville, for whom there is a tribute.
(Note: All release dates are subject to change; all information correct as of press time.)